Monday, May 28, 2007

Cruelty Poll

I think it's interesting that the post about not having kids resonates with folks. Even though I made having kids a hobby, it's only for professionals and shouldn't be tried at home by most folks. In fact, I think no one who absolutely cannot imagine life without children should attempt them. It's just not worth it otherwise.

So, on the topic of why, perhaps, people might not want to have children, I give you this:

And this:

This is a beautiful, intelligent, talented 12 year old. She wants for very little in the material sense. She has opportunities denied most children on this unfortunate planet. She has experienced both the pleasure of activities in which she has natural talent and the enjoyment of working hard and mastering things at which she's not gifted. Ask her the name of a character in the Lord of the Rings, no matter how minor. Heck, ask her the name of any character's horse. She knows them all. She sings long complicated poems that she's memorized in the car. We love her to pieces.

Yet we are making the purchase of a bigger bicycle (she's growing a lot) contingent on her memorizing the times tables. Through 13. . . She claimed, this morning, while bicycling for a quick alone-with-mama trip to the bagel shop, that this was "mean."

I ask you, gentle readers, is this "mean"?

P.S. She just huffily informed us that the only horses that are named in LOTR "are memorable." So it's no big feat. Odd, that. I haven't remembered them, despite reading them all myself.


sarabeada said...

well maybe you only read them once, I 've read them at least 6 times

Heather Madrone said...

I don't get the first photo. Is the problem with having children that you don't get to read the paper or that they rumple it before you get to it? It's been years since I've gotten a dead tree paper, so I'm a bit hazy on the whole subject.

The table by the front door is a sorer point for me. I'd like it to be reasonably clear of stuff so we could use it. Other members of the family seem to think that horizontal surfaces need to be piled high at all times.

As to the times table deal, I wouldn't put up with the "mean" label, myself. My dyslexic daughter has been known to fight me instead of applying herself to overcoming her disability. I tell her that I know how hard this is for her, but that she's wasting her energy fighting me when she knows and I know that it's writing (formerly reading) that she needs to wrestle with. If I was being mean, (not to put too fine a point on it), I'd just let her go through life illiterate, but, because I love her, it's my duty to help her learn what she needs to know to be successful in life. I'll put up with a little moaning and groaning because I know this is hard for her, but I won't let her get personal about it.

Lara said...

You are so MEAN! (My 12-year-old daughter rides my old bike. So I guess we're extra mean.)

I wish I could get my 12-year-old to pick up something of the magnitude of Lord of the Rings, much less memorize horses' names. She loves to read and she's really smart, but she's a little self-limiting at times. It's tough having to push all the time, isn't it? But I suppose all kids need a push here or there.

suzee said...

I no longer have the first clue about why people should or shouldn't have/adopt/foster children. It's an absurd idea, yet most of us who have done it seem to have few regrets, overall.

Times tables. Oy. I wish there were a magic spell.

suzee said...

I forgot it was a poll. Yes, you are mean, but in a good way. Someday, she may thank you for being mean.



Or not.

Lycan said...

Is she reading Jon Carroll? Oh, how I miss Jon Carroll! Yes, I know I can access it online. But there's something about holding that dead tree in your hands. :-P

I embrace the "mean mom" label, myself. When my kids are whining, "*why* can't we have/do/be whatever" I often will tell them it's because I am such a mean mom.

Elizabeth said...

Sheesh. I'm about to really be a mean mom since my kid won't stop logging into her own blogger account, leaving me to comment as "lycan", whoever that is! How unreasonable of her.

amy said...

Not mean. And living in a parallel universe as you often do, that is our summer goal as well. Let me know if you find any good methods.

bfmomma said...

Not mean at all. Somehow C. made it through w/o memorizing them (she had the WORST 3rd grade teacher) and T., of course, skipped 3rd grade math! EGADS!

I still don't have them fully memorized and it slows me down. After years of tutoring, I finally have the majority of them.

Seriously, you're doing her a service by requiring memorization!

Helen said...

Are you mean?
No. Mean is maliciousness for the sake of hurting another. Making her memorized the times tables through 13 just because you know she hates them would be mean.
You're firm. And right.
And strong.
And using a carrot instead of a stick to get her to do something loathesome that just has to be done.
But then, I'm a mom... who made her kid spend all of the holiday Monday doing all of the homework on her Missing Work Report from school.

meg said...

Mean? HA! You are an amateur- I'm the Mom making my 16 yo pay for his Dad's bike...which he borrowed...then stashed in a bush when it got a flat tire...which was then stolen (surprise, surprise)
There are days that I think to myself "I should have stuck with cats", but they are becoming less frequent as the kids grow & move away. Far away. And don't call when they have a flat tire. Regretably, few children at home has not resulted in it being more clean- the crap has just gotten bigger & more lethal (Kendo swords, buckets of tennis balls & size 13 shoes!
Do people really point out the less-then-steller housekeeping? Now THAT is mean!

amanda j said...

Ah, but what would we do without them. Personally I am very pleased my child bearing days are over and I have three relatively normal and somewhat sane children while my friends are just beginning the whole process. Mwahahaha.

And mean should be a way of life for us mothers. It didn't do us much harm now, did it?

Rain said...

You rotten mother you! Fancy making her learn her times tables.

She seems like such a lovely young lady.

Montana said...

Definitely a mean mom, but who said that's a bad thing!? That's part of the job of being a mom IMO. I am not a mom, but let me tell you, the kids with "mean" moms seem invariably to turn out much better than the kids with "meek" moms!

But I think the mean mom thing is usually about 95% playacting. They know you're not really mean!

Katherine said...

I've read Lord of the Rings a few times and I didn't recall that the horses had names.

For the record: not mean. Just in charge.

And I wholeheartedly agree! No kids unless you can't imagine life without them. I have a few friends that have decided they aren't the mothering type and thank god they have the choice.